It will take more than a week to tour the whole of Yankari Game Reserve, the guide mentioned to us. He spoke knowledgeably about the reserve, like they all do, and passionately. I always admire them when they do so. They give you hard facts and details I can only have in my memory when I know I am sitting for an exam tomorrow.
We could only see the reserve for about two hours due to the time we had. We drove past different species of antelopes; deer, waterbuck, African Antelope, etc. At one point, we had to get off the truck to walk on foot in the reserve. The guide wanted us to see the Marshall Caves. Some caves archeologists believe to be occupied by human beings a very long time ago.
There are lots of interesting stories about the caves. There is the city centre and where you have a story buildings of caves. In the building, the caves are interconnected making it easy for the owners to move from one cave to another, and from first floor to the second. Thy were 59 of them in total. By virtue of the location of the caves, the guide mentioned it was difficult for anyone to spot the people there. Perhaps it was a hiding spot carefully chosen by the people to hide during the slave trade.
The best thing I enjoyed there was visiting the Wikki Warm Springs, which I learned has a year-round constant temperature of 31.1 C. Yes, point 1. The guide mentioned. He couldn’t miss that.
It is a beautiful natural warm spring. You cannot visit the reserve without seeing it, or better, swimming in it. It is like going to Paris without visiting the Eiffel Tower or visiting Cairo without going to the pyramids. It’s the best thing in the reserve. Seeing the natural warm spring is one thing, swimming in it is something else. It was that great of an experience for me and my friends!
There are other side attractions in the park aside the Marshall Caves and the natural warm springs. There are more than 20 water wells I heard being sunk a long time ago. Different bird species. A museum of artefacts of animals found in the park. From the park, you can reach the borders of Taraba State, Plateau State and Gombe State. At some point, the animals have to be pushed back into Bauchi when they start moving farther away.
The government recognized the revenue potential for the reserve and is currently building a landing strip. Not sure how this will affect the ecology of the park, considering aircrafts would be making a lot of noise.
The easiest way to reach the park is to fly to Gombe, then travel by road for about 2.5 hours to the park. The airport in Bauchi has no scheduled commercial flight. Except if you choose to charter an air plane like an Arabian Prince or book a small size chopper from Abuja. For those with minimal budget, Bauchi is accessible via road from Kaduna State, Jos and of course Bauchi (coming from Kano State).
Accommodation starts at 9000 NGN. There are many rooms, including hostels. A restaurant is available to place your orders. The place was recently renovated, so facilities are quite still okay.
Only turn off is the area boys that roam freely in the building area and try to take your bag from you. So watchword is not to carry any bags while walking around in the reserve, especially when going to the warm spring. And do not feed them any bananas. Do not be scared, the baboons aren’t dangerous, but it pays to be cautious.
In Summary, the reserve is worth visiting if you have never been to one before or you aren’t looking for something extraordinary, like the Masai Mara or Serengetti in Kenya.
For more photos of the park, follow my Instagram channel @sadiqgulma.